QRU continues to Close the Gap on education outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Youth
March 16 marks National Close the Gap Day and the Queensland Rugby Union, in partnership with the Australian and Queensland Governments and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities, has been working to close the gap on education and employment outcomes for Indigenous youth through the Reds Generation Next program.
The program was first established in partnership with the Australian Government in 2012 and has since seen over 260 students take part.
QRU Head of Diversity and Pathways – Joel Johnston said: “Reds Generation Next is one of the longest running programs of our Queensland Reds Indigenous Program and specifically targets the Close the Gap initiatives of halving the gap in Year 12 attainment and employment outcomes between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Australians.”
“Since its inception, over 260 students have participated in the program, with 98% of participants achieving Year 12 attainment and 92% successful post-school transition into further education and/or employment”
These outcomes compare favourably against the post-school transition success of 72% for Indigenous and 88% for Non-Indigenous for Queensland over the same period.
“Critically this success is only achieved through the long-term partnerships developed within the program. Firstly, with our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, their families and schools and strategically through the financial and practical support of State and Federal Government and Queensland Rugby corporate partners.”
Last year, in a Queensland first, the QRU and Palaszczuk Government signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to support young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders in efforts to further their education and find employment and increase procurement opportunities for Indigenous businesses.
“We have had Federal Government support since the beginning in 2012 and in July of last year we entered into an MOU with the Palaszczuk Government.”
The Palaszczuk Government will provide up to $80,000 in grant funding to QRU to support the placement of 40 Indigenous participants into jobs by 30 June 2017.
“The partnership has not only added to the financial sustainability of the program but also expertise in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs and intel of potential employment opportunities in regions across Queensland for our participants is irreplaceable and we look forward to developing this partnership long into the future.”
Minister for Local Government and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships, Mark Furner said the Reds Generation Next partnership was an important part of helping to Close the Gap on disadvantage among young Indigenous Queenslanders.
“The formidable Rugby talents of young Indigenous Queenslanders are well documented, as is QRU’s social and economic contribution to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across the state,” Mr Furner said.
“It’s a crucial partnership that’s assisting young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders not only to kick goals on the Rugby field, but also to Close the Gap on education, employment and economic participation.
“Closing the Gap isn’t something that can be achieved in isolation; it’s a collective initiative to engage communities across sport, across the industry and across the nation.”
Reds Generation Next forms part of Queensland Rugby Union’s wider Indigenous Program, that focuses on a ‘crayon to career’ approach. Working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth in communities around Queensland through the Future Indigenous Leaders program (supported by Rio Tinto), QRU helps prepare youths for the transition to high school. The Reds Generation Next program then supports these students as they prepare to move into tertiary education or employment after school.